This fall, TransCanada employees in Mexico and 37 of their relatives came together to preserve lagoon and beach habitat before leading over 500 baby turtles – part of a critically endangered species – out to sea.
Increased tourism in Mazatlán, located on Sinaloa’s coast in the northwest of Mexico, had threatened the survival of the Golfina turtle, whose babies are born and return to sea each year between August and December. These turtles are also included among the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s list of endangered species.
An educational experience for all involved
“The activity was something beautiful that fills me with pride as a Mexican and as an employee of TransCanada,” said Veronica Esquivel, Community Relations coordinator for TransCanada’s El Oro – Mazatlán project, which is in the vicinity of the turtle habitat. “The children were curious and excited, but above all they were very respectful with the baby turtles; they followed the instructions and cared for the turtles until they reached sea.”
The activity was fraught with unique challenges, and followed months of planning initiated by the Community Relations team. One of the biggest obstacles to the survival of the turtles and other species was the Camarón lagoon. As a result of Mazatlán’s growth, the lagoon’s ecosystem was threatened due to debris and garbage caused by sewage systems, as well as the discharge of raw untreated water into the lagoon and the prevalence of raccoons who carry garbage into the area. Consequently, turtles and other species can sometimes die by getting tangled in garbage bags, cut by glass or by consuming it.
Working with local experts
So TransCanada’s team worked with expert biologists from Mazatlán’s aquarium to develop a plan to clean up the lagoon and the beaches where turtles were going to be released – a task that would require boats, special garbage bags and volunteers.
After a two hour clean-up of the lagoon and beach, and after receiving detailed descriptions of the marine habitat along with instructions on releasing turtles into the ocean, the TransCanada team did exactly that.
And that drew special appreciation from local residents, including contributing biologist, José Barrón.
“There are few companies that are concerned and really care about the environment. Thanks to the lagoon cleanup conducted by TransCanada, there has been a significant decrease in unfortunate incidents happening to freshwater turtles and migratory birds that live in this lagoon.”
– José Barrón, manager of the Golfina Turtle incubator area in Mazatlán
“Our wider recognition goes to TransCanada, its leaders and its staff for this contribution to a cleaner environment; now it is up to us to look after it,” added Barrón.
“It’s very rewarding to see our employees, contractors and their families embrace TransCanada’s corporate values and make a contribution to the local communities’ environment,” said TransCanada’s Hernan Maturana.